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Creamy Chicken and Gnocchi is a one-pot meal that’s full of flavor and comfort and is also a quick and easy weeknight dinner.
This velvety Creamy Chicken and Gnocchi recipe is one of my favorite one-pot meals because it’s easy, you can make it in under thirty minutes, it’s filling, and it’s big-time delicious. Like I’m-not-going-to-stop-eating-this-until-it’s-all-done delicious. Pillowy gnocchi drenched in a rich buttery cream sauce, with pops of juicy chicken and earthy spinach? Ummm, yeah. You’re going to love this one!
What Is Gnocchi?
Gnocchi are small two-inch dumplings made with mashed potatoes, flour, and eggs. They are served sauteed with butter, tomato, or cream-based sauce. In this dish, we pair gnocchi with diced chicken thighs in a buttery cream sauce. It’s basically an elevated meat and potatoes dish, with spinach thrown in because Beth says we need to cook more veggies.
What You’ll Need
You won’t need loads of time or pots and pans, that’s for sure. Everything in this dreamy, silky dish comes together in one skillet in under thirty minutes! Here’s what you’ll need to make Creamy Chicken And Gnocchi:
- Gnocchi – you can find them frozen or fresh, but I prefer the dried ones as they are more economical, plus I have more room in my pantry than I do in my freezer. You’ll find them in the pasta section of your grocery store.
- Chicken Thighs– You can also use chicken breast, but be careful not to overcook it, as you want juicy chicken, not dry, chicken-flavored cotton balls. In a pinch, sub the thighs with Italian sausage and skip the seasoning.
- Heavy cream and Butter– this is a cream sauce, so it is dairy-heavy. You need the fat found in these ingredients to create the velvety sauce that brings everything together. You can substitute the heavy cream with full-fat coconut cream and the butter with vegan butter
- Parmesan– does double duty, adding savory saltiness to the sauce while also thickening it. Asioago or feta make great substitutions. If you can’t do dairy, use a couple of tablespoons of nutritional yeast, but keep in mind that your sauce will be much looser.
- Vegetable broth– is used to hydrate the dried gnocchi and helps create the base of our cream sauce. Substitute it with chicken broth or in a pinch, with a cup of water with a tablespoon of tomato sauce mixed in.
- Onion and Garlic– these aromatics are fried in the chicken thigh fat and help flavor the gnocchi. You can substitute the onion with one tablespoon of onion powder and the garlic with 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder.
- Spinach- brings earthiness and a beautiful color to the dish. You can substitute spinach with kale, though it will take a little longer to soften.
- Italian seasoning – creates an easy flavor base. If you don’t have Italian seasoning, substitute it with one teaspoon of dried oregano, one teaspoon of dried thyme, and one teaspoon of dried rosemary.
- Smoked paprika – using this spice is optional, but I use it to add a dank, smoky note that helps round out the sharpness of the Italian seasoning. It also lends a golden hue to the sauce.
What To Serve With Creamy Chicken and Gnocchi
This dish is heavy, so pair it with a Simple Side Salad or Panzanella. You can also lean into the heaviness and make Garlic Bread to sop up all the creamy sauce. (It is AMAZING with garlic bread. And garlic counts as a vegetable!)
Storing and Reheating
Because you make this dish with a cream-based sauce, I don’t recommend freezing it, as the cream gets grainy when it thaws. Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a microwave until steaming.
Creamy Chicken and Gnocchi
- 1.25 lbs chicken thighs (4 to 5 thighs) $4.23
- 1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning $0.30
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika $0.05
- 1/2 tsp salt $0.04
- 1/4 tsp pepper $0.02
- 2 Tbsp cooking oil $0.08
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced $0.32
- 2 garlic cloves $0.11
- 1 lb potato gnocchi (dry) $1.13
- 2 cups fresh spinach $0.60
- 1 cup vegetable broth $0.08
- 1/2 cup heavy cream $0.71
- 2 Tbsp salted butter $0.30
- 1/4 cup Parmesan $0.44
- Dice the chicken thighs into 2-inch pieces. Add the chicken to a bowl and top it with Italian seasoning, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Mix until combined.
- Place a large, deep skillet over medium heat and add the cooking oil. Once it's shimmering, add the chicken and cook undisturbed until well browned, about 3 minutes. Stir and brown on the other side, about 3 more minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan when it's cooked through and leave the fat in the pan.
- Add the onion and garlic to the skillet. Saute until the onions have softened and the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes
- Add the gnocchi and butter to the skillet and brown for 2 minutes.
- Add the spinach and the broth to the skillet. Cover the pan. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the spinach has wilted and the gnocchi has hydrated.
- Add the heavy cream and salted butter to the skillet. Stir until the butter has melted and the cream is steaming hot but not boiling.
- Take the skillet off the heat. Add the parmesan to the pan and stir until it melts, creating a velvety sauce.
- Finally, return the cooked diced chicken to the skillet. Mix gently into the gnocchi and cream sauce. If desired, garnish with parsley.
See how we calculate recipe costs here.
How to Make Creamy Chicken And Gnocchi – Step by Step Photos
Dice 1.25 pounds of chicken thighs (about 4 to 5 thighs) in 2-inch pieces. Add the chicken to a bowl and top it with 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Mix until combined.
Set a large deep skillet over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of cooking oil. When the oil is shimmering, add the chicken and cook undisturbed until well browned, about 3 minutes. Stir and brown on the other side, about 3 minutes more. Remove the chicken from the pan when it’s cooked through and has reached an internal temperature of 160°F. Leave the rendered fat in the pan.
Add 1 diced onion and 2 cloves of minced garlic to the skillet. Saute until the onions have softened and the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Add 1 pound of dry potato gnocchi and 2 tablespoons of salted butter to the skillet. Brown the gnocchi for 2 minutes.
Add 2 cups of spinach and 1 cup of vegetable broth to the skillet. Cover the pan. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the spinach has wilted and the gnocchi has hydrated.
Add 1/2 cup of heavy cream and 2 tablespoons of salted butter to the skillet. Stir until the butter has melted and the cream is steaming hot, but not boiling. You’re about to add cheese to the sauce, and cheese curdles at high temperatures, so make sure it isn’t boiling.
Take the pan off the heat. Add 1/4 cup of parmesan to the pan and stir until it melts, creating a velvety sauce.
Finally, return the cooked diced chicken to the skillet. Mix gently into the gnocchi and cream sauce. If desired, garnish with parsley. Serve this dish piping hot, then sit back and enjoy what took you less than a half hour to make!
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This fresh, vibrant, and utterly delicious Tortellini Salad feeds a crowd on a dime. The best part: you can put it together in minutes!
This fresh, vibrant, and utterly delicious Tortellini Salad feeds a crowd on a dime. My favorite part? It only takes a few minutes to put together. Plus, you can make it ahead of time and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days. Win! Win! Win! It’s perfect for picnics, potlucks, or a light lunch at home. Get ready to put this Tortellini Salad recipe on repeat!
What is Tortellini Salad?
Tortellini is a type of pasta stuffed with meat, vegetables, or cheese, then shaped into a small ring. To make the salad, the cooked and cooled tortellini is mixed with summer vegetables, herbs, greens, and a vinaigrette. Sometimes chopped cured meats or pickled peppers are added. For me, the pure joy of it is that it comes together in three steps, it’s super filling, and it’s a perfect choice for when you have an army to feed but don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
Ingredients for Tortellini Salad
The pasta is the star here, and though you can use any kind of tortellini, we chose cheese tortellini to keep the flavor profile simple. Here’s what you need to make Tortellini Salad:
- Tortellini– any kind will do. If you can’t access this ingredient, substitute it with rotini, farfalle, penne, orecchiette, or gnocchi. (And call it Pasta Salad!)
- Cherry tomatoes – these bring a pop of color and a touch of sweetness and acidity to the party. If you’re not a fan of tomatoes, try using red bell peppers instead.
- Red onion– sharp, assertive, and spicy, this ingredient is a great way to break up the fattiness of the tortellini. You can substitute with green onion, white onion, or yellow onion.
- Summer vegetables like squash and zucchini– these fresh veggies add more texture than flavor and also help bulk up your salad. Substitute with cucumber or carrots.
- Black olives– add a touch of brininess. Substitute with green olives or capers.
- Baby spinach and Italian Pasley– add herbaceous peppery notes. Substitute the spinach with kale or arugula. If you’re not a fan of parsley, use basil.
- Parmesan cheese – helps round out the flavors and adds a touch of nuttiness.
- Italian Dressing– pulls everything together and adds zing. Substitute with any lightly flavored vinaigrette.
Tips For Making The Best Tortellini Salad
- You can use store-bought Italian dressing for convenience, but for a more flavorful salad, use our recipe for Italian Dressing.
- Bulk up the salad with more low-cost, in-season veg to transform a pound of tortellini into 16 servings instead of 12. Use any fresh veg, greens, and fresh summer herbs you have on hand. Just cut everything in similar sizes.
- Add a little acidity and heat with pickled cherry peppers or banana peppers.
- For a heartier salad, add chopped grilled chicken or shrimp. Or try adding chopped salami.
What To Serve with Tortellini Salad
Though it makes a wonderful meal on its own, you can also serve Tortellini Salad as part of a larger meal, like a backyard barbecue or picnic. It’s a perfect side for Greek Marinated Chicken or Quick Garlic Butter Shrimp. I love serving it with No-Knead Homemade Focaccia and Balsamic Roasted Vegetables.
How To Store Tortellini Salad
Tortellini salad keeps up to 3 days in the fridge. Just make sure to store leftovers in an airtight container. If you want to make the salad ahead of time, I recommend making the tortellini, chopping and salting the squash and zucchini, and prepping the rest of the ingredients. Add the tortellini to a large container and top with the veg and then the greens. Mix with Parmesan and dressing when you’re ready to serve.
- 1 summer squash $1.10
- 1 zucchini $0.75
- 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes $3.00
- 1/2 red onion $0.38
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach, packed $3.49
- 1/2 cup sliced black olives $1.99
- 3/4 cup Italian dressing $1.42
- 1/2 cup chopped Italian Parsley $0.30
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese $0.33
- 1 lb cheese tortellini $4.79
- First, cook the tortellini according to the package directions. Then drain well and cool in a very large bowl in the fridge.
- While the tortellini is cooking, slice the summer squash and the zucchini into 1/4-inch rounds and then quarter the rounds. Add them to a large bowl and sprinkle with salt and mix.
- Slice the cherry tomatoes in half. Slice the red onion in 1/4 inch half moons and soak it in cold water to dull its sharp flavor. Chop the parsley, and if the baby spinach leaves are large, chop them as well.
- Once the tortellini has cooled, top it with the cherry tomatoes, red onion, baby spinach, and sliced black olives. Then drizzle with 1/2 cup of Italian dressing.
- Next, top the salad with chopped Italian parsley and Parmesan cheese. Then drizzle with the final 1/4 cup of Italian dressing. Finally, mix, and serve! Wasn't that easy?
See how we calculate recipe costs here.
How to Make Tortellini Salad – Step By Step Photos
First, cook one pound of tortellini according to the package directions. Then drain well and cool in a very large bowl in the fridge.
While the tortellini is cooking, slice the summer squash and the zucchini into 1/4-inch rounds and then quarter the rounds. Add them to a large bowl and sprinkle with salt and mix.
Once the tortellini has cooled, you’re ready to assemble. First, top the tortellini with 1 pint of halved cherry tomatoes, 1/2 sliced red onion, 2 cups fresh baby spinach, and 1/2 cup sliced black olives. Then drizzle with 1/2 cup of Italian dressing.
Next, top the salad with 1/2 cup of chopped Italian parsley and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. Then drizzle with the final 1/4 cup of Italian dressing. Finally, mix, and serve! Wasn’t that easy? Now go feed your army and enjoy your time with them instead of spending it in your kitchen!